Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin announced a Jewish running mate last weekend: Mindy Finn.
Finn is a veteran GOP strategist who runs a feminist non-profit. She and McMullin, a former CIA agent, see their independent candidacy as a conservative alternative to Donald Trump.
With their religious makeup — a Mormon and a Jew — and their outspokenness, the McMullin/Finn ticket has been gaining traction lately. Following Donald Trump’s struggles after the release of a tape on which he makes lewd comments about women, they might win Mormon-heavy Utah, where McMullin is now statistically tied with both Trump and Clinton.
Their candidacy is a long shot — they are not even on the ballot in all states — but there technically is a way how it could work. If they manage to win one state and then both Trump and Clinton fail to get the 270 electoral votes necessary to become president, the House gets to decide the election.
More realistically, Finn sees their campaign as the start of a new conservative movement. “We are a glimmer of light in what many have seen as a sea of darkness in this election,” she told Glamour.
1. Only child of a single mother.
Mindy Finn is an only child, and her single mother supported her by starting a business out of their home. “Being raised by a strong, smart, female small business owner, I learned some valuable lessons,” Finn described in an open letter when she joined the McMullin ticket. “She taught me to never spend more than what I had, to always keep $20 in my pocket in case of emergency, and to seek empowerment by working hard and supporting myself.”
2. Proud Jewess.
Finn is a proud Jewish woman and she says her faith helps her in guiding her decisions. Together with her running mate, a Mormon, she shares a deep appreciation of religious freedom for all. “Neither candidate on the stage at the debate Sunday night stood for religious freedom for all people (Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.),” she told the Forward. “When you don’t protect the religious freedoms of one group, you don’t stand for it at all.”
Born and raised outside of Houston, Texas, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University and a Masters in Political Management at George Washington University.
4. A young go-getter.
She is 35 years old, but has already racked up an impressive resume. She founded several businesses as a political and media strategist, specializing in online brand marketing and issue advocacy. Over the last fifteen years she has worked with President George W. Bush, Republican candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, and also with big companies like Google and Twitter.
5. Mindy Finn: Feminist
She is the president of “Empowered Women,” a non-profit she founded in 2015. The group wants to “give voice to a new generation of American Women and to “celebrates women as individuals who deserve an equal opportunity to live a fulfilled life as they define it,” according to their website. She has also been actively encouraging conservative women to run for office. Both she and McMullin are pro-life.
6. Lifelong Republican, Recently Discouraged
Finn says she cherishes in the GOP shared the same values her mother instilled in her: hard work, personal responsibility and the importance of family. But by nominating Trump, she feels that the Republican Party has strayed from those principles.
“After the conventions I was feeling pretty discouraged,” she told the Forward. “And I felt depressed about it, but on the other hand optimistic because when you hit rock bottom it’s an opportunity to rebuild.”
7. Swapping lapel pin for charm bracelet.
Ready to hit the road. Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. I wear the flag on my wrist. See you on the trail! #McMullinFinn2016pic.twitter.com/BUfXvfmgU0— Mindy Finn (@mindyfinn) October 13, 2016
8. Trump is an “Aspiring dictator.”
Finn has been an early and outspoken member of the #NeverTrump club inside the GOP. When she announced her candidacy, she described Trump as an “aspiring dictator.” A year earlier, she compared him to an abusive boyfriend during a CNN interview. “There’s an allure, he’s filling kind of a need and a void and people are attracted to him but ultimately he’s a bully. And he’s going to punch you in the eye,” she said.
Finn is the mother of two small children. And while the campaign hasn’t fully formulated all their policy positions, Finn told Glamour that paid family leave and better childcare will be an important part of it.
10. Not with her.
While Finn is an outspoken Trump critic, she can’t see herself supporting Hillary Clinton. In an open letter, she wrote: “Clinton spent four years as Secretary of State during which she aided and abetted the failures of President Obama. When terrorists murdered four Americans in Benghazi, Clinton knew the truth yet blamed their deaths on an unrelated video. To protect herself, she deceived us all.”
Lilly Maier is a news intern at the Forward. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter at @lillymmaier
Lilly Maier is a news intern at the Forward. She is a graduate journalism student at New York University, where she studies as a Fulbright scholar. She also holds a B.A. in Jewish history from the University of Munich.
Contact Lilly at firstname.lastname@example.org, read her portfolio, or follow her on Twitter.